God: Who/What is God?

(This post has also been posted as an answer on Quora)

The word God is being used in two different meanings.

1. The word ‘God’, as it is possibly used by a random guy in the world of over 7 billion people, means the creator, ruler and the moral authority of the universe.

A random guy usually understands God as an invisible person who has a mind, emotions, intentions and a personality that is strict, altruistic, intelligent, loving, judgemental and sometimes even cruel.

He is someone who is worshiped with or without form and who is also feared. As for as utility is concerned, such a random man uses this God to be hopeful of his wishes and even curses as well. Sometimes he also uses God even to justify his cruel actions.. That has caused a lot of violence in the name of religion over the last two or three millennia.

edwin-andrade-158050.jpg

The tendency to judge others usually occurs to a person because of the unconscious intention to show himself in a positive light, in terms of what is good and bad. By making a judgment about others either mentally or physically and by trying to see how bad they are, he unconsciously convinces himself on how good he is.

This tendency can be observed more in people who are brought up in religious families. Don’t think about spirituality here. I am talking about an orthodox Hindu, Muslim or Christian who believes that there is a personal superhuman God who is the moral authority of the world and who punishes the evil doers. He is conditioned more to think in terms of what is good and bad, what is evil and sin etc.

When he believes that his neighbor is selfish, arrogant, rude and probably even bad, he convinces himself on how bad that neighbor is; he also gets relieved in thinking that God will teach his neighbor a lesson one day.

loveyourneighbor

The neighbor is always a problem. It is not only the case with your next door neighbor, it could be someone who is sitting next to you in school or work, the people in neighboring town, state, country etc. Everyone wants to see himself better than other in some way. The worst problems happen when he wants to see himself better than others in how good he is, how pure his heart is, how devotional and dear to God he is etc. So, this is really not about God at all. God is just an excuse to bring some solace on his wishes and curses.

If for any reason he is not able to kill someone who he thinks as bad, rude or displeasing, he can find some temporary relief by thinking how much God would want to punish him. And as soon as he notices such a thought in his mind, he would probably pray to God saying “oh my God, what have I done!.. I have thought of killing that guy. It is such a bad thought and I have sinned now!. But you know how bad he is anyway (*this is the special part!). But I admit that I have sinned in my mind. Please forgive me.. I honestly ask for your forgiveness. Let everything happen according to thy will, Amen or Om Shanthi or Insha Allah or whatever”…. That’s it! He no longer has to worry about it anymore because God has forgiven him! But God is still not going to forgive that bad neighbor guy!

forgive

And this typical religious person that we are talking about is not going to forgive that bad guy either. Also, God will only forgive this typical religious person because he believes that he is the dearest child of God. As far as he is concerned, God loves him but would want to punish everybody else that he doesn’t like for whatever reason he has. And his mind can easily find biased reasons for such an aversion. Any person can easily find thousands of reason to justify his hatred towards another person, there is no question. It is love which doesn’t require any reasons.

If you think for a moment, the main teachings of many religions have been love. It is even said that Love is God. Every religious tradition probably has love as the central theme. Most of the religions portray God as Love.

I think Jesus was a wise man. When someone asked him what greatest commandments were, he did not talk about Ten Commandments.

All he said was this:

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second commandment is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

godislove

But love is not a bargain or deal. Unfortunately, this is what we see in many people who claim to love God or human beings. Their prayers are like ‘God, please give me this, please give me that’. This is not Love. This is a business.

It is pretty much like telling your God what to do and doesn’t sound like ‘Thy will be done!”

2. But the word ‘God’ is also used in the context of spiritual enlightenment.

In this context, the word is just a synonym of Absolute reality from which people feel separated.

enlightenment

The apparent union that destroys the apparent separation of absolute reality is what is called by different names: Some people call it as the mystical union and some people call it as Yoga, which literally means union. Here, the God is often personified and loved but never believed or seen as a person. In other words, union with God is the same shit as spiritual enlightenment! It is the end of duality which gives complete fulfillment and peace.

But the word ‘God’ in the context of spiritual enlightenment is totally unnecessary anyway. I would rather talk about spiritual enlightenment without using the word ‘God’. You can read this answer for a detailed description of what it is: What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

Author: Shanmugam P

I am a blogger and a self-published author. My book "The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment: Bridging Science, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta" is a guide to the ultimate freedom, bliss and oneness. The book is based on my own experience. My book "Discovering God: Bridging Christianity, Hinduism and Islam" shows how all three major religions of the world lead to the same truth. I am a past student of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Golden Jubilee Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Sankarnagar, Tirunelveli District.

4 thoughts on “God: Who/What is God?”

  1. Dear Shanmugam,
    It is really wonderful to go through your posts.These posts have clarified many questions in my mind.
    If possible,please answer the below question:
    1. If the meaning of Enlightment is to understand that there is no duality,what happens after the body dies?Does the enlighted one continues to be present as the creator force?In what form?
    2.What do you say about the concept of Karma? Or in other words,if someone doesn’t get enlighted during his life time,is there a rebirth as per the Karmic process?

    Regards
    PD

    Like

    1. Thank you Priyadarshi .. Seeking enlightenment is just seeking completeness and liberation. It is to eliminate the sense of psychological lack which causes misery. But is trying to know what happens after death going to help to eliminate the sense of lack?

      I usually ask people to refer to Buddha’s ‘parable of poisoned arrow’. This parable was the answer that Buddha gave to someone who asked such metaphysical questions. You can read it here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.063.than.html

      But anyway, I have discussed topics like Karma and many other things in my book in detail. You can get it here if you are interested: https://www.amazon.in/Truth-About-Spiritual-Enlightenment-Bridging-ebook/dp/B078494FQB

      Like

  2. So what is your point of view. Is there really “God” or not. Is there anyone or energy looking after us or fulfil our wish. Do we see anyone after death?

    Like

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